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Oakland A’ reliever Chad Smith had quite the Wednesday. After being called up from Triple-A Las Vegas he had to wake up at 2:45 AM and jump on a plane to Baltimore. He then found himself on the bump later that evening and was credited with a win after just two innings of work, but only thanks to a rarely used official scoring rule.
Smith pitched the final two innings of Oakland’s 8-4 win over the Orioles allowing just one hit and zero runs during his appearance. He entered in the bottom of the eighth inning after the A’s scored three runs in the top half of the frame to take a 7-4 lead.
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Jeurys Familia was the pitcher in the game when the A’s took the lead, which means he could have been the pitcher given the official win. The official scorer, however, had different plans in mind given that Familia’s outing was just two-thirds of an inning and actually allowed the Orioles to tie the score at four.
Instead of the scorer crediting Smith with the save, they deemed it fit to hand him the win, the first of his career in the big leagues.
According to Rule 9.17 (c), the scorer has every right to make that decision:
“The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer.”
The 27-year-old Smith had 15 MLB appearances under his belt before entering the game on Wednesday night, but it’s safe to say his outing against the Orioles is his most memorable yet.